Just back from the fire on Elizabeth St. Here’s the latest.
Tenants in a building at 83 Elizabeth St. located between Hester and Grand streets, were awakened around 8:30 a.m. by the smell of smoke. A fire broke out in the basement and caused the smoke to rise to the fourth and fifth floors of the six-story building. Firefighters were on scene within three minutes of the first 911 call and had the blaze under control within an hour-and-a-half. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, although it appears it originated in the basement. There were a total of seven minor injuries; one tenant and six firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation.
Beatrice Mei, who lives on the fourth floor of the building, was in shock when the smoke reached her apartment. “I saw smoke but I didn’t think much of it, but it got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore so I called 911,” she said. “When I was coming down the stairs I couldn’t see. My legs were shaking and it took me two hours to feel better.”
According to city records, the building owner, listed as the OTT Kang Corp., was fined in April of this year after inspectors observed “improper installation of pipes and gas meters” in the building. However, there are no indications that these violations are related to the fire that broke out this morning.
The fire caused power outages at the Highest Beauty Salon and Xing Long Inc.. a small gorcery store on the ground floor. The Red Cross is working with the Fire Department to determine if the building is habitable and whether residents will need to be temporarily relocated. Representatives from the offices of City Council member Margret Chin and Asian Americans for Equality, a community organization, were also on hand today to assist tenants.